‘Yellowstone’: Kevin Costner Reveals The Driving Force Behind John Dutton’s ‘Violence’

by Jon D. B.

“He’s dealing with really modern problems,” Kevin Costner offers of his Yellowstone patriarch as Season 5 films in Montana.

Watch Costner bring John Dutton to life, and one thing becomes immediately clear: This man is under a lot of pressure. So is the Western icon himself.

“I’m as pressed as I’ve ever been in my life in terms of the responsibilities and the amount of decisions I’m having to make every day,” Costner says. “Between doing what I’m doing every day for Yellowstone and my own [projects], there’s a lot of people standing behind me waiting for me to make decisions.”

As he speaks to Variety while filming Season 5 in Montana, that word continues to flare up. Pressure is mounting on Costner to continue to deliver as the show’s driving force. And he brings every bit of that to his grizzled Dutton.

‘Pressure’ Is What Turns Kevin Costner Into John Dutton, It’s Also What Shapes His ‘Yellowstone’ Patriarch Into a ‘Violent’ Man

“It’s been set up in a sense that there’s so much pressure on what’s coming for his land that he’s going to have to do something,” Costner continues of his stalwart patriarch. Running a ranch the size of Rhode Island has to be stressful enough in itself. But add on layers of family legacy, American tragedy, and ruthless capitalism, and he’s got a recipe for the kind of pressure that leads to violence.

“We’re going to see what he did and does to stay ahead of it, and I think that’s what John Dutton has to do,” Costner says.
“But the pressures about the land have been, always for this family, [that they’ve] got to hold on to it with a level of violence.”

Yellowstone leans into the dramatic with said violence. It’s a television show, after all. The most-watched of all, in fact. And nothing makes for a good serialized storytelling like compelling drama. But that’s not what keeps pulling Kevin Costner back into the story. It’s the truth – and history – reflected in that drama.

“The walls pressing on [John] are environmentalists, the Native American issues, politicians, the public outcry for more land. So, he’s dealing with really modern problems,” he adds.

As for where this may lead the patriarch, Costner maintains that he doesn’t “know anything” of what’s happening beyond Season 5.

“I don’t know where it’s going. [But I] think people feel they hit a formula and they want to keep it up. I know they want to make a decent story of it. People are capitalizing on it and hopefully they’re doing it in an elegant, intelligent way.”

Kevin Costner returns as John Dutton for Yellowstone Season 5 this November 13, exclusively on Paramount Network.